Do you offer discounts to get cleaning accounts?

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by Suzanna Watson on October 19, 2010

When you advertise your cleaning business do you offer discounts of any kind? If not, why not? 

When you pick up any newspaper or view advertisements on TV what do you see?

“Special Offers”, “Discounts” or other incentives for getting an order of some kind right?

If you are sending out a direct marketing piece to help jump start or increase your cleaning business, you should be adding a special offer in each and every letter. Maybe it’s 10% or 20% off the first months bill. Or maybe your really going to knock their socks off and offer the first week of cleaning free, with no strings attached. YES, I said one week free.

Your special offer needs to be strong enough to not only get the readers attention, but it also needs to get them to act (pick up the phone right away and call you). In other words…make it compelling, make it powerful, be creative and think outside the box.

Like I mentioned earlier, offering a giant discount for first time customers is a great way to get someones attention. Remember, you need to cut through all the junk mail clutter that people receive. And we all know just how much junk mail is out there!

The second part of the equation is to put a deadline to the offer. This may just be the most important part of the process. If there is no deadline, potential cleaning clients will just procrastinate, and put you to the bottom of their to-do list. The problem with that is you do not want to be at the bottom of their to-do list, you want to be on top (we show you how to do this in our “Commercial Cleaning for Beginners” manual).

Now what happens if your offer falls just a little too short? (your price is still a little high)

My advice is to not be afraid to negotiate with the potential customer. You may be very close to meeting their budget requirements, so why not ask them what will it take to close this deal? If their number is close to your estimate you may want to say “ok lets get it done right now” or “I will do it for that price”. If it is way off your estimate then you may just have to walk away, but you will never know until you ask.

You may have to make concessions in what you offer by changing your work schedule on the estimate, or just take the lower price and keep the work schedule the same, but you must ask yourself how badly do I want/need this job? Don’t be so rigid that you loose out, be willing to give a little.

The goal is to close a deal!

If you take the job at the lower price, maybe down the road you can get some extra work out of that customer to make up the difference in price. If you decide to offer floor care or window washing you can charge a little more perhaps and make up the difference.

Always take the long view, don’t just look at what is going on now, look at what you can get down the road. If you give them knock your socks off service, you may be able to raise your prices by 3 or 4% next year. You may also get referrals from them and have the chance at getting another job because you were willing to negotiate.

On a side note, when you send your invoices out (to existing customers) do you have any special offers included there? Again, you should always be promoting some offer. To customers who get invoiced monthly, you should always include a special that you are offering.

Maybe your special could be for window cleaning, VCT floor-care or carpet cleaning. Think of it this way, you are already going to stick a 44 cent stamp on your invoice, why not make the most of that postage and include a special offer. It just makes sense, and it’s a good business practice. 


Why do credit card companies always place the ads on the back of the return envelope you send your payment in with?


Because it works!

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Gus September 7, 2015 at 3:57 pm

is one month free service discount too much to offer a new client?

2 Tom Watson September 7, 2015 at 6:34 pm

Hi Gus!

Probably too much… I used to offer 25% most of the time, and I did 50% as well at times when I really wanted to make an impact. Any more than that you are just giving money away (it won’t increase the response enough to warrant that big of a discount).

3 Gus September 12, 2015 at 11:23 am

Thank you Tom for your wisdom and advise. I did only one time it to gain my first cleaning account but would not offer it again in my career. Kind regards.

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